Almost one year ago WR wrote up his article on the Battle of Wertingen and included his short comments, tabletop map, and scenario design notes. WR’s primary objective was to create a sort of training scenario for a battlefield situation of cavalry vs. infantry with limited artillery for both sides. Training type historical scenarios are a pet favorite of WR, seeking tactical key game concepts, rule mechanics and over time, speed the team player sequence of play interaction and tabletop play.
Wertingen 1805 is a small tabletop scenario compared to the larger scenarios written by WR. The Austrians basically are a division of infantry (nine battalions), with two small cavalry units (squadrons) and no field artillery batteries. French have five full divisions…. four cavalry and one elite grenadier division, all equipped with one artillery battery. A totally unfair or unbalanced scenario on paper. WR loves the unbalanced scenario and the challenge to develop. Play forces the weaker player to pay close attention to the fine points of play, tabletop tactics, and the victory conditions especially. Those scenario victory conditions typically even the tabletop field so to speak and, if written well, direct the players towards the historical outcome and yardstick the tabletop results to the actual historical result.
WR’s initial post on Wertingen 1805 and historical commentary: Wertingen 1805. The scenario notes for playing Wertingen 1805 (.doc): Wertingen 1805 Scenario Notes
Scenario opening positions. FML Auffenberg’s infantry battalions face off the arriving French 3rd Dragoon Division cavalry of GD Beaumont. Two French mixed horse batteries deploy on opposite height. Block in upper left corner is arriving 5th Corps light cavalry under GD Fauconnet.
Key scenario rule for Wertingen 1805. The Austrian units cannot perform any retrograde movement if under a French charge zone. Charge zones are 22′ arcs of the basic movement of 12″-16″, depending on cavalry type, but for this scenario the charge zone Austrian movement restriction extends universally for 18″. Under the normal scenario or game rules, all units have reduced movement (1/2 rate) in a declared charge zone, in any direction the owning player chooses, but for this unique scenario no Austrian retrograde movement is permitted if covered by a charge zone.
Opening situation with the two sides facing off. Austrian battalion squares backed by two weak cavalry units and French dragoons in linear formations.
French tactics are basic in nature. Charge their individual dragoon regiments one or two at a time to pin the Austrian battalion squares in place till the infantry arrive. Keep dragoon regiments available to maintain a rolling charging routine across the frontage of the Austrian square line. Use the horse artillery to batter isolated squares and, if weakened, charge home and crush the hapless morale disordered battalion with a dragoon regiment. When planning their charges, keep in mind to use the “pump fake” tactic of only charging the minimum distance requirement of 4″ or engage in melee combat, otherwise pull up short, and remain outside the minimum fire zone of the battalion cannon embedded within some of the squares (4″ minimum fire zone range). Properly done the Austrians shouldn’t be able to move their battalions till the infantry division arrives later in the scenario. Upon their near arrival the Austrian battalions are released and will run for their exit point. Good timing is everything.
Austrian tactics in scenario are tough. Maybe use a battalion or two to advance and break up the French dragoon charge planning. Try to place the French cavalry into a minimum fire zone of the battalion muskets (2″) or their attached battalion cannon (4″). This may lock up and cause loss on the dragoon regiment, and hopefully give ability for the rear battalions to make a retrograde movement (if not under the French charge zone). Once a battalion has two retrograde movements there is a good chance that battalion can continue their movements, free of French zonal charges, till they exit the battlefield. The two small Austrian cavalry units are the best chance to plan a disengaging Movement Phase if they can delay charge the advancing French infantry. Another tactic is use the one Austrian chevau-leger unit to screen off the French artillery for a turn or two.
Scenario is designed to teach players about charging, the charge zone, the cavalry movement during a charge, square movement, and the interaction of cavalry vs. square (avoid engagement if possible in most situations) but pin in place for the firepower of infantry and especially artillery. Lastly the effect of battalion (regimental) artillery and the increased minimum fire zone of infantry from 2″ to 4″ range.
With the two player teams assembled and the scenario explained, time to start the scenario narrative outlining how the miniature tabletop action played out last weekend.
Turn One: After a short team player conference, team French started maneuvering their 3rd Dragoon Division into position below the Austrian held hill slope. Their two-horse batteries opened fire on the exposed Austrian battalion squares causes quick loss. Cycling through the sequence of play (SOP), the French artillery just finished the Mutual Artillery Fire Phase leading to the French Cavalry Charge Declaration Phase on the Austrian half of the game turn.
Sequence of play chart with the two eight step half turn sequences. French are Side 1 column, Austrians Side 2 column.
Sequence of Play clip
The first of many charges declared by the French cavalry during this scenario…. Charge declared, successful morale test to charge taken, and trot forward the minimum 4″ distance and pull up or charge home…. here the French dragoon regiment pulled up their charge.
French dragoon regiment, after the French artillery bombardment phase, calls their charge to “pin” the Austrian battalion in place and prevent retirement movement.
End of Turn One shows the two sides. Note the French dragoon regiment pulled up short since the charge plan was just to keep the Austrians in place during their movement phase.